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Free money - Arvind Narayanan's journal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

Free money [Sep. 28th, 2008|12:38 am]
Arvind Narayanan
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A couple of years ago, Chase sent me a $75 coupon for free money on opening an account. I would have thrown it out, as I do with the "pre-approved credit card" offers, but I tried to cash it purely because I was curious to see what the catch was. To my astonishment, it actually worked. I opened an account with a minimum balance of $100, and closed it with a balance of $175 six months later when the coupon kicked in.

Now they've sent me another coupon for $100. I have a very high threshold for things like this and mail-in rebates and stuff like that which involve wasting my time for uncertain return and reams of fine print. But since it worked last time, I'm guessing there's a high likelihood it'll work again. Assuming an hour wasted overall, that seems worthwhile. Maybe I'll do it if I can remember to walk by the bank before the coupon expires.
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Comments:
From: fixious
2008-09-29 03:24 am (UTC)
Hm... won't this kind of bank activity affect your credit report?
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2008-09-29 03:26 am (UTC)
oh wow. i know nothing at all about that, and have no idea what my credit score is. that must be the catch. thanks!
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[User Picture]From: medryn
2008-09-29 12:52 pm (UTC)
Answer: No, it will not. Credit scores do not consider bank activity.
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-09-29 02:10 pm (UTC)
... unless the bank does a "hard" credit pull/inquiry when opening a new account. This is not unheard of, and will have a very minor effect on the FICO score for the next 6 months.
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[User Picture]From: medryn
2008-09-29 04:52 pm (UTC)
Huh. I googled for "Citibank new account hard pull" and apparently Citibank does do hard pulls for bank accounts. That is super weird, since banking has nothing to do with credit worthiness.

In any case, the only reason you should be concerned with your credit score and the number of hard pulls is if you are going to be making a major financed purchase (car, house, small business loan) in the near future.
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[User Picture]From: floopilot
2008-09-29 02:44 pm (UTC)
really? I always thought closing accounts is bad - which is why I still have that dratted ufcu a/c [no balance, it's just another card to carry and another password to remember]. Perhaps I should look into this.
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[User Picture]From: medryn
2008-09-29 04:46 pm (UTC)
Closing credit card accounts, particularly your oldest credit card account, does negatively affect your credit score because it increases our utilization and decreases your length of credit history.

Closing a bank account could not possibly affect your credit score.
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2008-09-29 04:49 pm (UTC)
ok, thanks!
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2008-09-29 03:26 pm (UTC)
i'm so confused! so should i take the money?
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From: fixious
2008-09-29 06:34 pm (UTC)
It probably doesn't affect the credit score, but I'd still be wary of doing it a second time. Let's say you want/need to legitimately open a bank account -- the bank may see you as a flaky customer and reject your application. When I opened an account with citibank a couple of years back, they seemed disturbed about an old account I had closed around that time, because it was active for under a year.
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2008-09-29 06:42 pm (UTC)
i think that does it. totally not worth the trouble then. thanks.
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